“The literary equivalent of a summer night, a good friend and a gin-and-tonic: Shannon is a deft writer; a natural storyteller with a wicked turn of phrase and frighteningly specific memory...”

Download Shannon's story, "Beautiful Boy, Brandon Lee," in its full length, excerpted from her book, Smash, Crash & Burn.

Do You Always Think You Should Be Somewhere Else?

We’re on our family summer trip where we must MAKE MEMORIES, dammit! We’re “doing” the California coast. We’ve hit Santa Barbara, in El Capitan and are currently in Monterey on our way to San Francisco!

All they care about are the hotel swimming pools!

Today we drove the 17-mile scenic drive down Pebble Beach.  Clare (10) said, “If only Lukas (her best friend) were here, it would be so much more fun.” Bridget (8) said, “let’s go back to the hotel pool!,” I was thinking, “I’ve got to start on the 30th high school reunion. Why the hell did I let my sister nominate me for senior class president? It was your vanity, you Ass! You’re damned VANITTTYYYYYY!”

Henry said nothing. He is a man. What we think they feel, they do not feel. What we think they think we feel, they do not think or feel. So who knows if he was preoccupied or absolutely living in the moment. Who knows what the hell was going on with that bastard!

There were a lot of people riding their bikes along the 17-mile Pebble Beach scenic route as we trolled by in our minivan eating monkey brains and reading Mad magazines.

I looked at the cyclists with their taut calf muscles and clingy biking shorts and felt guilty I’d eaten a short-stack of banana pancakes just this morning and wasn’t forcing my family to ride bicycles up the coast and sleep in pup tents affixed upon seagull-guano-splashed crustaceous rock in the Pacific Northwest. Instead we’re staying at a Hyatt hotel, poisoning ourselves in the hyper-chlorinated pools whilst ordering Michelle Obama healthy kids’ meals through room service.

If I stop, for a moment, thinking I should probably be doing things differently i.e. better – here are the moments I loved today:

The aforementioned banana pancakes at an old Victorian restaurant in Pacific Grove.

Our girls nimbly traversing the rocks reminding us we should be studied by gerontologists.

Admiring the Tomboy Mermaid.

Looking at a bunch of dead people’s stuff in antique stores. Henry, Clare and Bridget were in heaven.  Billy Bob Thornton and I were trembling in abject terror.

Deer in our headlights. I wanted to pet them, but Henry, Clare and Bridget shrieked,
“What about deer tics? Are you mad woman?”

Do you always feel like you should be somewhere else? What do you do to combat this and live in the moment?


Tags assigned to this article:
not living in the moment

16 comments

Write a comment
  1. Jamie
    Jamie 8 July, 2012, 21:10

    Love it!!! I wish we were there with you!

    Reply this comment
  2. Rosie Carrillo
    Rosie Carrillo 8 July, 2012, 21:32

    Love vicariously “sharing” your family adventure! When you reach my age, & happen upon these photos, you will love it more than today! I have been tearing up, finding pics of my kids, when they were clambering over coastal rocks, & playing with a garter snake at Brice Canyon! ENJOY! 😀

    Reply this comment
  3. Sharon Greenthal
    Sharon Greenthal 9 July, 2012, 06:13

    Great pictures and the pancakes look delish!

    Reply this comment
  4. Sarah Auerswald
    Sarah Auerswald 9 July, 2012, 06:51

    I love doing the California coast! Have a great time! We saw those same deer in Pacific Grove when we were there a few years ago, searching out the California Missions for our 4th grader. My kids still remember the deer and the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I still remember the fantastic dinner we had in Pacific Grive at the Fish Wife restaurant – soooo, I’ll bet you’re making memories and you don’t even know it. Have fun!

    Reply this comment
  5. Jenn Willey
    Jenn Willey 9 July, 2012, 07:30

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like a fun time.

    Reply this comment
  6. Yvonne Condes
    Yvonne Condes 9 July, 2012, 08:28

    Ha! Last week we slept in tents and hiked until we could hike no more and at the end of the day I was wishing we were in a hotel with a pool and a shower. Be glad that your adventure has indoor plumbing!

    Reply this comment
  7. Nicole
    Nicole 9 July, 2012, 08:28

    What a great post. I really can’t wait to take that ride. I think about doing it every year and just never get around to it!

    Reply this comment
  8. Carol D
    Carol D 9 July, 2012, 10:58

    I am really lucky and work in San Francisco. If you need any ideas about what to see when you are here, let me know. Have a really great trip!

    Reply this comment
  9. OCMomActivities - Katie
    OCMomActivities - Katie 9 July, 2012, 12:20

    Oh I’m envious! Love that area and your next stop is my home town! *sigh* Have fun!

    Reply this comment
  10. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon 9 July, 2012, 14:44

    What a great trip. Nothing better than a stack of books and a lounge chair next to the pool. But, yeah, it’d be nice if the kids thought natural beauty counted, too.

    Reply this comment
  11. Ciaran
    Ciaran 9 July, 2012, 17:45

    You are the best photo captioner ever!

    Reply this comment
  12. Adrienne
    Adrienne 9 July, 2012, 20:14

    I could do loops on the 17 mile drive, it is one of my favorite parts of California

    Reply this comment
  13. Jeannine
    Jeannine 9 July, 2012, 20:46

    happy, beautiful family – cease the day!

    Reply this comment
  14. Presley's Pantry
    Presley's Pantry 9 July, 2012, 20:50

    What a fun trip. Banana pancakes and the chance to look at dead people’s stuff. I would have pet the deers with tics anyway! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply this comment
  15. Caryn B
    Caryn B 10 July, 2012, 08:56

    What a wonderful time you are having! I love the California coast…. : ) Enjoy!

    Reply this comment
  16. John
    John 12 July, 2012, 07:00

    Cool Pics!

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*